It was last week, before I went away, that I saw them. I was doing my usual morning walk on the Prom and they were standing outside The Marine Hotel. There is a kind of platform outside the main door that is raised off the pavement, almost like a balcony. They’d clearly attended a wedding and were still, at 3.45 am, in their wedding attire. He had on DJ and white shirt and untied his bow tie hung round his neck. She was in a wide-skirted taffeta dress. He stood one end of the balcony, she the other. He was leaning over the rail, she stood staring at him. No communication. All spent. All said. The tension was palpable. It was just a momentary glance. The story was told.
I only took one book with me in the end, though I had struggled to choose only two in the library. So many I wanted to read. Another time. It is good to be left wanting, yearning, I think. I took Hanif Kureishi’s Intimacy. It is a narrative spent entirely in the protagonist’s head. Beautifully written, so much so that I had to stagger it. Saving it for later. A little now, that’s enough. I read some over my lunch at Pret a Manger in the departure lounge and then a little more on the plane, finishing it on my flight back yesterday. A dark book. Not erotic, too graphic to be so, at least for me. But deeply, deeply sad. A dystopian, bleak kind of sadness. It made me think of the couple outside The Marine, where is there to go after such a silence?
The hurricane, for she told us at the checkout that it was officially declared a hurricane, had not wreaked as much havoc on the Prom as I’d expected. There were the usual stone and shale on the road and pavement, but much had been swept into orderly piles. The waves were big, he tells me. They may have been. There were twigs and stones on the South Prom, so perhaps it was there that their magnificence was most evident. But it was calm today, this morning. Cold, though. Winter comes. A clear sky. A panoply of stars.
I don’t know where to begin. I said I’d write that so there I’ve done it. I am lost. Discombobulated. I always am after travelling. I get so absorbed, so taken over by the place I’m in and the people I am with. I soak it up, consume it, as it consumes me. I feel like one of those snow scenes, all shaken up. Floating. Not settled. Not settling. I need some time at home, at my desk, in my studio.
I don’t know where to begin. So just make a start. Make a list. It helps to focus the mind, sort out the important from the not so. I have to deal with life stuff first. VAT, my accountant, chasing invoices. They all help in the grounding. All help in the reestablishing roots. I am ready to write, to make, to begin again with whatever it is that will take me to the next stage. It’s just an energy thing. I haven’t slept well. Waking every two or three hours. Checking my alarm, needing a pee, just being over stimulated. It was an important thing to do and worth all this shaking up. It a love thing. That’s all. A need to reestablish an intimacy that was always shaky. I love her. As I love them all. We are so different. I watched her endlessly. We share the same blood. See that skin, it is the same as mine. But our approach to living is so different. She, seemingly so fearless. Scratch the surface and it is not so. Of course not. Be vulnerable, I say. Let it be so. Let it go. It is easier said then done. And I know I am talking to myself too. Is it not always so?
I don’t know where to begin. So just begin, at the beginning.